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Monday, December 27, 2010

Immersion Foot Syndromes

Immersion Foot

Immersion foot syndromes include:

Trench foot
Warm water immersion foot
Tropical immersion foot (Paddy foot)

Trench Foot:

Trench Foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions. It is one of many immersion foot syndromes. The use of the word "trench" in the name of this condition is a reference to trench warfare, mainly associated with World War I.

Infected feet may become numb, affected by erythrosis (turning red) or cyanosis (turning blue) as a result of poor vascular supply, and feet may begin to have a decaying odor due to the possibility of the early stages of necrosis setting in. As the condition worsens, feet may also begin to swell. Advanced trench foot often involves blisters and open sores, which lead to fungal infections; this is sometimes called tropical ulcer (jungle rot).

If left untreated, trench foot usually results in gangrene, which can cause the need for amputation. If trench foot is treated properly, complete recovery is normal, though it is marked by severe short-term pain when feeling returns. As with other cold-related injuries, trench foot leaves sufferers more susceptible to it in the future.


Trench foot is easily prevented by keeping the feet warm and dry, and changing socks frequently when the feet cannot be kept dry.

Warm water immersion foot:

Warm water immersion foot is a skin condition of the feet that results after exposure to warm, wet conditions for 48 hours or more, and is characterized by maceration, blanching, and wrinkling of the soles and sides of the feet.


Warm Water Immersion foot is easily prevented by keeping the feet warm and dry, and changing socks frequently when the feet cannot be kept dry.

Tropical immersion foot:

Tropical immersion foot (also known as "Paddy foot" and "Paddy-field foot") is a skin condition of the feet seen after continuous immersion of the feet in water or mud of temperature above 22 degrees Celsius for two to ten days.


Tropical Immersion foot is easily prevented by keeping the feet warm and dry, and changing socks frequently when the feet cannot be kept dry. Don't keep feet in wet conditions for prolonged periods.

(above source: Wikipedia)

Immersion injuries-  Skin becomes wrinkled as in dishpan hands.

(a) Avoid walking on affected feet.
(b) Pat dry; DO NOT rub. Skin tissue will be sensitive.
(c) Dry socks and shoes. Keep feet protected.
(d) Loosen boots, cuffs, etc., to improve circulation.
(e) Keep area dry, warm, and open to air.
(f) DO NOT apply creams or ointments.

Saltwater sores-

(a) Change body positions frequently.
(b) Keep sores dry.
(c) Use antiseptic (if available).
(d) DO NOT open or squeeze sores.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cold Weather Injuries and Treatment

Cold injuries:


Is a progressive injury. Intense shivering with impaired ability to perform complex tasks and leads to violent shivering, difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking, which leads to muscular rigidity with blue, puffy skin; jerky movements and ultimately leads to coma, respiratory and cardiac failure.

Protect victim from the environment as follows:

·Remove wet clothing.
·Put on dry clothing (if available).
·Prevent further heat loss.
·Cover top of head.
·Insulate from above and below.
·Warm with blankets, sleeping bags, or shelter.
·Warm central areas before extremities.
-Place heat packs in groin, armpits, and around neck.
·Avoid causing burns to skin.

CAUTION: Handle hypothermia victim gently. Avoid overly rapid rewarming which may cause cardiac arrest. Rewarming of victim with skin-to-skin contact by volunteer(s) inside of a sleeping bag is a survival technique but can cause internal temperatures of all to drop.


Frostbite occurs when tissues freeze. This condition happens when you are exposed to temperatures below the freezing point of skin. Hypothermia is the condition of developing an abnormally low body temperature. Frostbite and hypothermia are both cold-related emergencies.

Although frostbite used to be a military problem, it is now a civilian one as well. The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes (your extremities) are most commonly affected. Everyone is susceptible, even people who have been living in cold climates for most of their lives.

In conditions of prolonged cold exposure, your body sends signals to the blood vessels in your arms and legs telling them to constrict (narrow). By slowing blood flow to the skin, your body is able to send more blood to the vital organs, supplying them with critical nutrients, while also preventing a further decrease in internal body temperature by exposing less blood to the outside cold.

As this process continuous and your extremities (the parts farthest from your heart) become colder and colder, a condition called the hunter's response is initiated. Your blood vessels are dilated (widened) for a period of time and then constricted again. Periods of dilatation are cycled with times of constriction in order to preserve as much function in your extremities as possible.

However, when your brain senses that you are in danger of hypothermia (when your body temperature drops significantly below 98.6 F), it permanently constricts these blood vessels in order to prevent them from returning cold blood to the internal organs. When this happens, frostbite has begun. (source:Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD)

Frostbite Treatment

•Keep the affected body part elevated in order to reduce swelling

•Move to a warm area to prevent further heat loss. Avoid walking on frostbitten feet as this can lead to further damage.

•Note that many people with frostbite may be experiencing hypothermia. Saving their lives is more important than preserving a finger or foot.

•Remove all wet clothing and constrictive jewelry because they may further block blood flow.

•Give the person warm, nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids to drink.

•Apply a dry, sterile bandage, place cotton between any involved fingers or toes (to prevent rubbing), and take the person to a medical facility as soon as possible.

•Never rewarm an affected area if there is any chance it may freeze again. This thaw-refreeze cycle is very harmful and leads to disastrous results.

•Also, avoid a gradual thaw either in the field or in the transport vehicle. The most effective method is to rewarm the area quickly. Therefore, keep the injured part away from sources of heat until you arrive at a treatment facility where proper rewarming can take place.

•Do not rub the frozen area with snow (or anything else). The friction created by this technique will only cause further tissue damage.

•Above all, keep in mind that the final amount of tissue destruction is proportional to the time it remains frozen, not to the absolute temperature to which it was exposed. Therefore, rapid transport to a hospital is very important.

Frost Nip-

First degree stage of frostbite-

This is called frost nip and this only affects the surface skin, which is frozen. On onset there is itching and pain, and then the skin develops white, red, and yellow patches and becomes numb. The area affected by frost nip usually does not become permanently damaged as only the skin's top layers are affected. Long-term sensitivity to both heat and cold can sometimes happen after suffering from frost nip.


If warm water is unavailable, place the affected body part against another body part that is warm. For instance, if the cheek is frost nipped, place a warm hand against it; if a finger is frost nipped, put it in a warm armpit.

If you try the heat-application method and the part doesn't warm within a few minutes, assume a more severe degree of frostbite and treat accordingly.

If warm water is available (104-108°F) strip the affected body part of all clothing and covering. Place the affected body part in the warm water until it is fully rewarmed - that is, all discoloration is gone, and the tissue is soft and pliable.

Seek medical assistance asap.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paracord Survival Belt- Type 1

Weave Design Using Snap Style Buckle

Molle Style Snap Buckles
Materials Needed:

Paracord  50 ft
Knife or Scissors
(4) Finishing nails 3" long
(1) Nail 4" or similar to hold paracord loops on opposite end of jig
Leatherman or Pliers
(1) 1x4x50" board used as Jig


1. Set up the jig. Watch the video for a visual on how the jig is set up. Basically, two nails hold the buckle (laid flat) at one end and two nails hold the one nail for the paracord at the other end. When hammering in the nails, don't put them in too deep. The reason for this is because as you weave the cordage through the 6 lines of paracord, the belt will tighten up making it hard to weave the cordage in and out of each string. You will have to remove two nails to shorten the belt. This is not problem if you are using the molle style buckles, because you are going to make an add on for the other end of the buckle snap. This will allow you to shorten or lengthen the belt later. If you are using the two pronged metal buckle you will need to do this:

The belt length will be the diameter around your waist plus one inch. Then you will need to add an additional 4-4 1/2", which is normally how much the belt length will shrink after you have weaved the paracord to the end.

2.  Add the paracord to the buckle and nails making three passes from buckle to nail. This will give you a total of 6 lines. I normally start with 30 feet of paracord. This is easier to work with. You can slice onto the end of the paracord by heating both ends and melting them together.

3. Starting at the buckle receiver end (the female part of the molle type buckle), begin weaving the end of the paracord over the top of one line and under the second line in a basket weave fashion. Watch the video on how the additional length is attached. Use the fork to push each row of weave together to make it compact.

Once the belt is completed, you will be wearing approximately 25-50 feet of emergency cordage, depending on the size of your waist.  You can also use this same technique to make rifle slings, straps for backpacks, etc. 

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Shock Symptoms and Treatment

Shock is a life-threatening condition. Shock results when vital organs fail to get enough blood.

Anaphylactic shock is a widespread and very serious allergic reaction. Symptoms include dizziness, loss of consciousness, labored breathing, swelling of the tongue and breathing tubes, blueness of the skin, low blood pressure, heart failure, and death. Immediate emergency treatment is required for this type of shock, including administration of antivenom in the case of bee or wasp stings.


Severe infections
Allergic reactions
Heat Stroke


Cool, clammy skin
Lackluster eyes
Dilated pupils
Feeling weak
Shallow/ slow breathing or rapid/ deep breathing
Weak and rapid pulse


Make the person lie down on his/her back and raise the legs above head level. If raising the legs is painful, keep the person still. Check for breathing. If not breathing, do (CPR) Cardio pulmonary Resuscitation. Treat bleed wounds or injuries. Make the person comfortable by loosening tight clothes. Cover the person with a blanket.

If vomiting or bleeding from mouth -turn the patient on their side. Do not feed the person. Get emergency medical help as soon as possible.

Hypovolemic shock is an emergency condition in which severe blood and fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. This type of shock can cause many organs to stop working.


Losing about 1/5 or more of the normal amount of blood in your body causes hypovolemic shock.

Blood loss can be due to:

Bleeding from cuts
Bleeding from other injuries
Internal bleeding, such as in the gastrointestinal tract

The amount of circulating blood in your body may drop when you lose too many other body fluids, which can happen with:

Excessive perspiration


Anxiety or agitation
Cool, clammy skin
Decreased or no urine output
General weakness
Pale skin color (pallor)
Rapid breathing
Sweating, moist skin

The greater and more rapid the blood loss, the more severe the symptoms of shock.


Get immediate medical help. In the meantime, follow these steps:

Keep the person comfortable and warm (to avoid hypothermia).

Have the person lie flat with the feet lifted about 12 inches to increase circulation. However, if the person has a head, neck, back, or leg injury, do not change the person's position unless he or she is in immediate danger.

Do not give fluids by mouth.

If person is having an allergic reaction, treat the allergic reaction, if you know how.

If the person must be carried, try to keep him or her flat, with the head down and feet lifted. Stabilize the head and neck before moving a person with a suspected spinal injury.

The goal of hospital treatment is to replace blood and fluids. An intravenous (IV) line will be put into the person's arm to allow blood or blood products to be given.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Few Medicinal Plants

Plant Medicine Treatments

a. Tannin

(1) Medical uses- Burns, diarrhea, dysentery, skin problems, and parasites. Tannin solution prevents infection and aids healing.

(2) Sources. Found in the outer bark of all trees, acorns, banana plants, common plantain, strawberry leaves, and blackberry stems.

(3) Preparation-

(a) Place crushed outer bark, acorns, or leaves in water.

(b) Leach out the tannin by soaking or boiling. Increase tannin content by longer soaking time. Replace depleted material with fresh bark/plants.

(4) Treatments-

(a) Burns- Moisten bandage with cooled tannin tea; Apply compress to burned area;Pour cooled tea on burned areas to ease pain.

(b) Diarrhea, dysentery, and worms. Drink strong tea solution (may promote voiding of worms).

(c) Skin problems (dry rashes and fungal infections). Apply cool compresses or soak affected part to relieve itching and promote healing.

(d) Lice and insect bites. Wash affected areas with tea to ease itching.

b. Salicin/salicylic acid.

(1) Medical uses. Aches, colds, fever, inflammation, pain, sprains, and sore throat (aspirin-like qualities).

(2) Sources. Willow and aspen trees

(3) Preparation-

(a) Gather twigs, buds, or cambium layer (soft, moist layer between the outer bark and the wood) of willow or aspen.

(b) Prepare tea as described in paragraph 3a(3).

(c) Make poultice- Crush the plant or stems; Make a pulpy mass.

(4) Treatments-

(a) Chew on twigs, buds, or cambium for symptom relief.

(b) Drink tea for colds and sore throat.

(c) Use warm, moist poultice for aches and sprains- Apply pulpy mass over injury; Hold in place with a dressing.

c. Common plantain

(1) Medical uses. Itching, wounds, abrasions, stings, diarrhea, and dysentery.

(2) Source. There are over 200 plantain species with similar medicinal properties.

(3) Preparation-

(a) Brew tea from seeds.

(b) Brew tea from leaves.

(c) Make poultice of leaves.

(4) Treatments-

(a) Drink tea made from seeds for diarrhea or dysentery.

(b) Drink tea made from leaves for vitamin and minerals.

(c) Use poultice to treat cuts, sores, burns, and stings.

d. Papain.

(1) Medical uses. Digestive aid, meat tenderizer, and a food source.

(2) Source. Fruit of the papaya tree.

(3) Preparation-

(a) Make cuts in unripe fruit.

(b) Gather milky white sap for its papain content.

(c) Avoid getting sap in eyes or wounds.

(4) Treatment-

(a) Use sap to tenderize tough meat.

(b) Eat ripe fruit for food, vitamins, and minerals.

e. Common Cattail

1) Medical uses. Wounds, sores, boils, inflammations, burns, and an excellent food source.

(2) Source. Cattail plant found in marshes

(3) Preparation-

(a) Pound roots into a pulpy mass for a poultice.

(b) Cook and eat green bloom spikes.

(c) Collect yellow pollen for flour substitute.

(d) Peel and eat tender shoots (raw or cooked).

(4) Treatments-

(a) Apply poultice to affected area.

(b) Use plant for food, vitamins, and minerals.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Treating Diarrhea

Out House

 Dysentery and diarrhea

(1) Drink extra water.

(2) Use a liquid diet.

(3) Eat charcoal. Make a paste by mixing fine charcoal particles with water.
Take 1 ounce of charcoal slurry every 4 hours as needed, not to exceed 2 days. (It may relieve symptoms by absorbing toxins.)

Constipation (can be expected in survival situations).

(1) DO NOT take laxatives.

(2) Exercise.

(3) Drink extra water.

Diarrhea symptoms usually last from 2-5 days and will usually go away on its own. It is important to keep hydrated during this time period.

Medicinal Plant Treatments:


Medical uses- Burns, diarrhea, dysentery, skin problems, and parasites. Tannin solution prevents infection and aids healing.

Sources- Found in the outer bark of all trees, acorns, banana plants, common plantain, strawberry leaves, and blackberry stems.

(3) Preparation

(a) Place crushed outer bark, acorns, or leaves in water.

(b) Leach out the tannin by soaking or boiling. Increase tannin content by longer soaking time. Replace depleted material with fresh bark/plants.

Treatment- Diarrhea, dysentery, and worms. Drink strong tea solution (may promote voiding of worms).

Common plantain

Medical uses. Itching, wounds, abrasions, stings, diarrhea, and dysentery.


(a) Brew tea from seeds.

(b) Brew tea from leaves.

(c) Make poultice of leaves.


(a) Drink tea made from seeds for diarrhea or dysentery.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Treatment For Blisters

Friction Blisters on Feet

What are Blisters?

A blister may form when the skin has been damaged by friction or rubbing,
heat, cold or chemical exposure. Fluid collects between the epidermis, the
upper layer of the skin and the layers below. This fluid cushions the tissue underneath, protecting it from further damage and allowing it to heal.

The most common blister is a friction blister that occur due to friction
caused by constant rubbing of shoes or clothing.

Types of Blisters

Friction or Rubbing- caused by wearing shoes; moist feet; rubbing clothes,
Extreme Temperature (Hot or Cold)- caused by sun burns or frostbite.
Chemical- caused by solvents, cosmetics, chemicals, reaction to insect bites, etc.
Crushing or Pinching- caused by hitting or pinching skin with tools or other objects, etc.
Disease- caused by chicken pox, herpes, eczema, cutaneous radiation syndrome,etc.


Bubble-like structures on skin
Redness over the area


Make a hole at the edge of blister. Use a sterilized needle or pin (Pin/needle sterilized by passing over flame). Drain the accumulated fluid Keeping the skin intact to prevent infection.

Clean blister with gauze containing iodine/alcohol and apply antibiotic
ointment. Cover with adhesive bandage for small blisters. Use porous, bandage for large ones.

Do not puncture blister if painless; Do not puncture a blood-filled blister. Blisters disappear in a few days time. Diabetics should consult doctor.

Prevention of Blisters:

Wear the right size shoes
Wear gloves when working with tools
Cover the potential area with tape or moleskin
Keep feet dry always
Keep body parts prone to heat or cold injuries covered and protected

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Snake Bites

CAUTION: This snakebite treatment recommendation is for situations where medical aid and specialized equipment are not available.

Nonpoisonous- Clean and bandage wound.


Remove constricting items and minimize activity. DO NOT cut the bite site; DO NOT use your mouth to create suction.

Clean bite area with soap and water and cover with a dressing. Overwrap the bite site with a tight (elastic) bandage. The intent is to slow capillary and venous blood flow but not arterial flow.

Check for pulse below the overwrap. Splint bitten extremity to prevent motion. Treat the victim for shock. Position extremity below level of heart.

Construct a shelter if necessary and let the victim rest. For conscious victims, force fluids. Take a picture of the snake, if available. If the snake is dead, remove the head and put it in a puncture proof container, if one is available for identification by medical personnel. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.


Fang marks
Swelling/severe pain at the site
Bloody discharge from wound
Excessive sweating
Blurred vision
Numbness/tingling sensation
Increased thirst
Loss of muscle co-ordinations
Rapid pulse

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Aid For Ticks


Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass where they will wait to attach to a passing host. A tick will attach itself to its host by inserting its chelicerae (cutting mandibles) and hypostome (feeding tube) into the skin. The hypostome is covered with recurved teeth and serves as an anchor.

Ticks can be found in most wooded or forested regions throughout the world. They are especially common in areas where there are deer trails or human tracks.

Ticks are especially abundant near water, where warm-blooded animals come to drink, and in meadows wherever shrubs and brush provide woody surfaces and cover.

Once on the body, they move to other warm, moist areas, such as the hair, armpit and groin areas. Once firmly attached to the body, they begin to suck blood. They can cause harmless or harmful conditions.


Rashes, redness, itching
Swelling at the site
Muscle/joint pain
Inflammation of the joints
Swollen lymph node
Flu-like symptoms

Seek emergency treatment for the following symptoms:

Severe headache
Chest pain
Difficulty in breathing


Remove the tick carefully by holding its head using a tweezer. Remove the whole tick being careful not crush the it. Put the tick into a bottle and seal this is to provide your doctor with information that may be needed later.

Use soap and water to wash the affected area and wash your hands thoroughly. Seek medical help if you are unable to remove the tick yourself.


When walking in woods or tall grass wear clothes and shoes that cover you fully. Keep the shirt tucked into pants and pull socks over the pants to cover feet.

Wear light-colored clothes to spot ticks easily. Spray insect repellents on your clothes. While outside, check your clothes frequently for ticks and on your return home, inspect yourself thoroughly for ticks.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Heat Related Injuries And Treatment

Heat Injuries

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most severe of all heat-related illness and could be life threatening.


The body's cooling fails due to excessive humidity, extreme heat, prolonged activity in the hot sun. Internal body temperature rises, leading to stroke.


Body temperature, greater than 104 deg F
Head ache
Hot dry skin
Skin is moist, if stroke is due to exertion
Rapid / shallow breathing
Rapid heartbeat
Absence of sweating
Fluctuating blood pressure
Lack of consciousness / coma


Remove the person to a shady place. Cool the person by sponging with wet towel and apply ice packs in armpits and groin areas if available. Give water with electrolyte, fruit / vegetable juice, or plain water with salt (1 tsp per quart of water). Allow victim to rest.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a heat related disorder. The loss of fluids takes place decreasing blood flow to vital organs, leading to shock.


Heat exhaustion is caused by excessive heat, increased by overexertion, sweating, and hot, humid climate.


Weakness / dizziness
Headache / nausea
Cold / moist skin
Dry tongue / thirst
Loss of appetite
Excessive sweating
Rapid / weak heart beat
Fast / shallow breathing
Muscle fatigue


The body needs to be cooled down. Remove the person to a shady place and loosen tight-fitting clothing and remove extra clothes. Cool the person by sponging with wet cloth or towel.

The victim needs to be rehydrated using fluids containing electrolytes such as sports drinks or fruit and vegetable juices. Plain water with a little bit of salt and sugar can be substituted in a survival situation if available. Give fluid every 15-20 minutes. Avoid coffee and alcohol.

Seek professional medical assistance if the symptoms don't clear up in 30 minutes. Seek emergency help in case of physical collapse or loss of consciousness.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are involuntary muscle spasms. They are caused by a deficiency of water and sodium in the body. Heat cramps are painful, may be severe and prolonged.

Heavy exercising in hot weather causes excessive sweating which leads to electrolyte deficiency resulting in muscle cramps.

Heat cramps are the least serious of all heat injuries. It is a warning sign for heat exhaustion.

Muscles most affected are the voluntary muscles of:


Heat Cramps are caused by:

Excessive sweating
Loss of body salts
Muscle stress
Poor body condition


Dizzy feeling
Rapid heartbeat
Hot/sweaty skin


Rest briefly and cool down. Apply manual pressure and massage to the affected muscle areas. Drink one quart of water with one teaspoon of salt. Drink some clear juice or electrolyte-containing sports drink if available. Practice gentle stretching exercise of the affected muscle. Seek medical help if the cramps remain after 1 hour. Heat cramps usually improves with an electrolyte drink, cool shade and rest.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, December 10, 2010

CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)

What is CPR?

CPR stands for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and is an emergency life-saving measure that applies a combination of rescue breathing and chest compression's done on unconscious, non-breathing patients.

CPR can be done on persons suffering cardiac arrest and also for near-drowning/ asphyxiation/ trauma cases. CPR conducts defibrillation and supports heart pumping for short duration, allowing oxygen to reach the brain, which buys time until help arrives.

CPR is most effective when done as early as possible.

Here is a video demonstrating CPR techniques.

New Hands Only CPR

Take a CPR course to learn how to do CPR. Click on the Red Cross image below to learn more about receiving the training. Your knowledge on how to do CPR could help you save a persons life, especially if they are a loved one.

 Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Identifying Terrain Features On A Map

TERRAIN FEATURES (Information taken from FM 25-26 Military Map Reading)

Knowing how to identify terrain features on a map is very important if you are using a map to navigate with. Being able to identify the various types of features will enable you to traverse the land using the best and least resistant route possible. For example, the closer the contours lines are on a map the higher or steeper the terrain is on the actual ground. This helps to avoid traveling in a direction that would require a lot of effort to move across.

The listed terrain features are normally found on topographical style maps. Each map will list different technical information needed to use and read the map. This post will show the different types of terrain and what they look like on a topographical map.

All terrain features are derived from a complex landmass known as a mountain or ridgeline. The term ridgeline is not interchangeable with the term ridge. A ridgeline is a line of high ground, usually with changes in elevation along its top and low ground on all sides from which a total of 10 natural or man-made terrain features are classified.

a. Major Terrain Features.

(1) Hill. A hill is an area of high ground. From a hilltop, the ground slopes down in all directions. A hill is shown on a map by contour lines forming concentric circles. The inside of the smallest closed circle is the hilltop.

  (2) Saddle. A saddle is a dip or low point between two areas of higher ground. A saddle is not necessarily the lower ground between two hilltops; it may be simply a dip or break along a level ridge crest. If you are in a saddle, there is high ground in two opposite directions and lower ground in the other two directions. A saddle is normally represented as an hourglass.


(3) Valley. A valley is a stretched-out groove in the land, usually formed by streams or rivers. A valley begins with high ground on three sides, and usually has a course of running water through it. If standing in a valley, three directions offer high ground, while the fourth direction offers low ground. Depending on its size and where a person is standing, it may not be obvious that there is high ground in the third direction, but water flows from higher to lower ground. Contour lines forming a valley are either U-shaped or V-shaped. To determine the direction water is flowing, look at the contour lines. The closed end of the contour line (U or V) always points upstream or toward high ground.


(4) Ridge. A ridge is a sloping line of high ground. If you are standing on the centerline of a ridge, you will normally have low ground in three directions and high ground in one direction with varying degrees of slope. If you cross a ridge at right angles, you will climb steeply to the crest and then descend steeply to the base. When you move along the path of the ridge, depending on the geographic location, there may be either an almost unnoticeable slope or a very obvious incline. Contour lines forming a ridge tend to be U-shaped or V-shaped. The closed end of the contour line points away from high ground.


(5) Depression. A depression is a low point in the ground or a sinkhole. It could be described as an area of low ground surrounded by higher ground in all directions, or simply a hole in the ground. Usually only depressions that are equal to or greater than the contour interval will be shown. On maps, depressions are represented by closed contour lines that have tick marks pointing toward low ground.

b. Minor Terrain Features.

(1) Draw. A draw is a less developed stream course than a valley. In a draw, there is essentially no level ground and, therefore, little or no maneuver room within its confines. If you are standing in a draw, the ground slopes upward in three directions and downward in the other direction. A draw could be considered as the initial formation of a valley. The contour lines depicting a draw are U-shaped or V-shaped, pointing toward high ground.


(2) Spur. A spur is a short, continuous sloping line of higher ground, normally jutting out from the side of a ridge. A spur is often formed by two rough parallel streams, which cut draws down the side of a ridge. The ground sloped down in three directions and up in one direction. Contour lines on a map depict a spur with the U or V pointing away from high ground.


(3) Cliff. A cliff is a vertical or near vertical feature; it is an abrupt change of the land. When a slope is so steep that the contour lines converge into one "carrying" contour of contours, this last contour line has tick marks pointing toward low ground. Cliffs are also shown by contour lines very close together and, in some instances, touching each other.

c. Supplementary Terrain Features.

(1) Cut. A cut is a man-made feature resulting from cutting through raised ground, usually to form a level bed for a road or railroad track. Cuts are shown on a map when they are at least 10 feet high, and they are drawn with a contour line along the cut line. This contour line extends the length of the cut and has tick marks that extend from the cut line to the roadbed, if the map scale permits this level of detail.

Cut and Fill

(2) Fill. A fill is a man-made feature resulting from filling a low area, usually to form a level bed for a road or railroad track. Fills are shown on a map when they are at least 10 feet high, and they are drawn with a contour line along the fill line. This contour line extends the length of the filled area and has tick marks that point toward lower ground. If the map scale permits, the length of the fill tick marks are drawn to scale and extend from the base line of the fill symbol.


Terrain features do not normally stand a lone. To better understand these when they are depicted on a map, you need to interpret them. Terrain features are interpreted by using contour lines, ridgelining, or streamlining.

Terrain Features

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Survival Container

Being able to transport water and food while on the move in a survival situation is an important step that needs to be addressed while you are in a survival scenario. If you can not carry water with you during your journey can lessen your chances of making it out of some types of climates and terrains, such as a dessert environment where water is scarce.

A good survival kit geared for the desert terrain, or any other terrain, should consist of some type of collapsible water carrying container.  Un-lubricated condoms are used in many small survival kits and can hold up to a quart of water or more.  Having some type of hard container, if you do not have a canteen, can be used to carry the condom full of water to prevent it from breaking.

Containers can be made from birch bark laced together with cordage made from plant fibers or glued together from survival pine pitch glue that can be easily made in the wilderness, providing you have access to the birch tree and coniferous trees that are needed for the resin.

In the video I used the dead stalk of the century plant, also known as the agave plant, to make an arrow quiver to carry arrows for my survival bow.  The stalk can be cut to different lengths to be used for what ever purpose you design them to do.

I used a survival knife and a yucca stalk sharped to a chisel point to gouge out the soft pith from inside the stalk.  You can also use hot coals from a camp fire to hollow out the center.  Just place the hot embers in the center and blow gently to get the coals hot.

Bowls can be made from cut logs using this fire method.  If you have access to a hand saw of some type or an ax or hatchet, you can make different sized containers to carry water and food or to cook in.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wilderness Glue

What is Pine Pitch or Pine resin?

Pine pitch or resin is the sap that oozes from an injured part of coniferous trees or evergreen trees like the pine tree, pinon tree, white pine tree, spruce trees and a few others.

These trees use the sap to seal the wound to prevent disease. The resin contains compounds that prevent the growth of microorganisms. This same resin can be used on a open cut on a person to help prevent infection. To use as a first aid treatment use the sap that is fresh and sticky and has not dried for best results.

While out and about on your hunting and gathering mode, pry off a few chunks of the dried sap and keep it with you for when you need it. That's if you are in an area that has coniferous trees. But, if you have the opportunity, gather it when it is available to you. The sap can be heated to mix with the other components when it is time to use it.

The following glue recipe allows for many uses, such as securing arrow heads to the shaft; securing spear tips; mending holes in plastic tarps or fabrics; gluing fletching on arrows. There are many other uses for this survival glue just let your imagination work for you.

The recipe I used in the above video was:

5 parts pine resin
1 part finely ground wood charcoal
1 part finely ground plant material (i.e. rabbit poop)

The reason I used rabbit scat or poop is because the ingredients call for finely ground dried plant material. Since rabbits, deer, elk, moose are Herbivores, meaning they only eat plant materials, their scat is mostly plant material that has already been ground up for you. Just make sure you use the driest scat you can find. It will look grayish or tan when it is ready. Usually when you grind it up it will look green like oregano. So let the animals save you the time in having to grind up the plant stuff.

You can get the charcoal left over from a camp fire. It needs to be ground up as fine as possible to avoid having chunks in your glue.

To make the glue, you need to have a small fire going and something metal to melt the resin in. A flat rock can be substituted for the container, but may take longer to heat and keep the resin flowing.

First allow the resin to melt. The resin may catch on fire, so watch it carefully and blow it out when it does catch fire. Once the resin melts all the way, add the 1 part charcoal and 1 part plant material (rabbit or deer scat). Mix thoroughly.

The mixture will look like roof tar when it is mixed. The glue is now ready to be used. It will dry fast after you begin to use it. Use a small twig to apply the glue. If it the glue starts to harden, you can reheat it while it is on the twig and can be applied to where ever it is needed.

The left over glue can be reused after it has dried. If a metal container with a lid was used, you can store the glue for later reheating and use.

Here are some other ingredients that can be mixed with the resin. A little experimenting may be needed, but usually the ingredient ratio is 5 parts resin to 1 part of two other ingredients.

The follow items can be used:

animal dung (herbivore- plant eaters)
ground plant matter
wood ashes
iron filings
hair or fur
bees wax
animal fats or tallow

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sotol (Desert Spoon)

Sotol Spoons Drying

An extremely useful plant to man, sotol has been used to make temporary structures, corrals, roofs, baskets, mats, ropes, tool, liquor ("sotol"), cattle feed during drought, and food for humans.

The base of a cooked sotol stem may be eaten rather like an artichoke leaf (by scraping across the front teeth). This remnant, called a "quid", resembles a spoon and can be used as one. Archaeological sites where "Desert Spoon" was eaten in this way are full of discarded quids thousands of years old.

Sotol and lechuguilla flower-stalks used as atlatl dart hind-shafts were found in Ceremonial Cave (Hueco Mountains, near El Paso, Texas). Sotol may also have been affiliated with fire because the sotol stem was used as a fire-plow.

The Desert Spoon typically grows on rocky slopes in the Chihuahuan desert grassland between 3,000 and 6,500 feet above sea level. Unlike the Agave, which flower only once in their lifetime, Sotols produce a flower stalk every few years.

Once the plant matures, it is harvested similar to Agave plants when making Mezcal or Tequila. The outer leaves are removed to reveal the center core, which is taken back to the distillery. The core can then be cooked and/or steamed, shredded, fermented, and distilled. The core can be baked and eaten as is or dried and pounded into flour to make bread or gruel.

The above figure shows the different size spoons that can be made from the base of the sotol leaf (quid). The spoons shown in the diagram are in the drying stage and will require more work. To make the spoon the length and shape are cut and most of the debris is removed. The spoons are allowed to dry for about three weeks. During that time shrinkage and color change occur.

The curled edges of the spoon are then reshaped the body is sanded and scraped and then polished for to be sold, traded or used.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!